Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Space Siege - Reviewed

All right, I haven't finished it yet. I may not finish it, though the completest in me screams at the thought.

My overall rating - Meh*. That would be the middle one. If you are particularly in the market for a clunky sci-fantasy shooter, this one fits the bill. Otherwise you may as well keep looking. It's not the modern manifestation of Obliterator I had hoped for.

My Big Complaints:
  • Why can't I customize the controls? I have 8 buttons on my mouse and your game recognizes 3 of them. I haven't had it this bad since a long time ago.
  • If you're going to bother making up 8 weapons, make up 8 different weapons. I have one melee weapon, and the rest are all either fast or slow guns. It reminds me very much of the old Doom days, whereby the next new weapon you pick up is going to be the one you use. Because it does more damage.
  • So I'm on this HUGE colony/warship. And I'm the only guy in the whole place with the presence of mind to shoot back when the aliens try to eat me.
I have other, lesser complaints, but they just pile on to what you may have read everywhere else. I have to say I generally like the art style, though I have questioned some of the texture choices. If you bother to play, note especially the very pixelated displays littered about the place. Which are highly repetitive. Highly repetitive is, unfortunately a hallmark of the design. Most of the environments are similar, and the prop list is very small.

I'm not saying it's not worth playing. I mean, I have played it almost all the way through. I admit I partly sold myself on it in that it has some thematic similarities with System Shock 2. In fact, I kept thinking that an SS2 mod based on this engine might be interesting if one could unlock the controls.

I know I keep harping on the controls. It's like this: The game insists that you use a Diablo 2 style of control - sans the mouse wheel skill flip. Click the left mouse button to move or interact. Click and or hold the right mouse button to use your current weapon. But I would have preferred a more Max Payne style of play. I think changing this from an awkward RPG to an OK 3rd person shooter might have made a difference.

The story doesn't exactly redeem, either. It's the same old same old. You're going to see the big plot twists in about the first 15 minutes of play. You won't be surprised. And, as I thought, the whole cybernetic vs humanity sub plot fails. Why do I care if characters who are thinly realized care if I go fully cybernetic? The big difference is which of the guns you get to use by the end of the game. The game doesn't have enough character interaction for your lack of humanity to make any real difference. If this was a big RPG, say Ultima IV or Knights of the old Republic scale, then I could see that playing out. You only interact with 5 NPCs, and then really only in cut scenes. They might be horrified, but I'm not.

Bottom line - Skip it.

*This refers to my new five spot rating system. Meh is the middle rating. It means the game or product may have redeeming value for specific individuals, but is generally unappealing or flawed to the point of making it generally not applicable. The other ratings are Awesome, which means I think your simply nuts if you don't already love it; Not Bad, which means I think it may not be best for everybody, but it's a good production of what it is; Bah, which means I think the thing failed and has few redeeming qualities; And BC3. BC3 is a direct reference to Battle Cruiser 3000AD which is the first game I ever bought that actually made me think the developer was deliberately trying to make me angry. I try to avoid those ones.


Geef said...

Love the rating scale.

Anonymous said...

Heya JP...its been a while...nice to see your blog online.....have some important news unless you know already....give me a shout if you want/can to I am not a user on here...YET! Take care....your old, brief University roomie and old AD&D fellow gamer...James!